The South Viking Graben of the North Sea is a prolific oil and gas province that has recoverable reserves of approximately 176 x 109 Sm3 (standard cubic meters) (6.2 tcf) gas, 58 x 106 t (412 million BOE) natural gas liquids, and 12.5 x 106 Sm3 (78 million bbl) of black oil contained in the main fields Sleipner Vest, Sleipner Øst, and Volve. These fields are located primarily within Block 15/9 in the Norwegian sector and extend into neighboring Blocks 15/6 and 16/7.
The principal source of black, nonvolatile oil is the Late Jurassic Draupne Formation, which has a predominance of marine algal organic matter. The lower section of the Draupne Formation together with the Heather Formation are organically leaner and contain a mixture of marine algal and terrigenous organic matter, resulting in a potential to generate both oil and gas. The Middle Jurassic Hugin and Sleipner formations contain humic coals and coaly shales with potential to generate gas and some light liquids. These coals contain, on average, 80-90% vitrinitic woody material with occasional enrichment of resinite. High resinite concentrations can lead to an overprediction of oil potential, as they contribute significantly to the hydrogen index (HI) but generate primarily low molecular weight aromatic compounds.
All source rock facies types have reached maturities sufficient to generate oil and gas. Basin modeling suggests that onset of oil and gas generation started during the latest Cretaceous-early Paleocene. These source rocks have continued to yield oil and gas to the present day in many parts of the catchment area for the Sleipner fields.
Detailed geochemical analyses identified five main oil and condensate families. Family A comprises condensates and oil located in the northernmost part of Sleipner Vest and Dagny, generated from a marine, clastic source with a predominance of type II algal organic matter. Family B is condensates in the middle to southern part of Sleipner Vest, generated from a source, or a contribution from several source facies, with mixed terrigenous higher plant organic matter and marine algal material. Family C consists of condensates reservoired in the Jurassic of Sleipner Øst (except well 15/9-A15), generated from a mixed algal/terrigenous source but with a higher contribution of hydrocarbons from a marine algal source as compared with the Sleipner Vest family B. Family D comprises condensates in the Jurassic-Triassic of Loke and Gungne, in well 15/9-A15 from the crest of the Sleipner Øst structure, as well as condensates within the Paleocene sands of Sleipner Øst. These condensates have a mixed terrigenous higher plant and marine algal signature and are derived from pre-upper Draupne Formation sources. Family E is the black oil present in the Jurassic Volve field, derived from a marine, calcareous shale with type II to II-S organic matter. The source rock for this oil is unique in the greater Sleipner area and is likely located in the isolated subgraben between the northern parts of Sleipner Vest and Sleipner Øst.
The hydrocarbon gases are broadly similar and are interpreted to have been generated from coals and coaly shales of the Sleipner and Hugin formations, as well as those parts of the pre-upper Draupne section that have a predominance of terrigenous higher plant organic matter.